Jurgen Klopp fired back at Jose Enrique after the former Liverpool defender blamed the German boss’ shock exit on the club’s owners.
The German boss sensationally announced that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, bringing an end to a glittering nine-year spell on Merseyside.
Enrique, who played under Klopp when he arrived from Dortmund during the 2015-16 campaign, took to social media after the announcement to share his belief that his former boss was simply ‘tired’ of the club’s American owners FSG.
He then doubled down on that assessment during an interview on Sky Sports. But during his press conference on Friday afternoon, the 56-year-old rejected those claims and reiterated his reasons for leaving.
‘I saw Jose Enrique, who I like a lot, say it is about FSG.’ He said. ‘I can tell you, absolutely, FSG has nothing to do with it.’
Jurgen Klopp rejected claims by former defender Jose Enrique that Liverpool’s owners were to blame for his shock decision to leave the club
Enrique played under Klopp during his first season in 2015-16 after arriving from Dortmund
Your browser does not support iframes.
Enrique, who spent a total of five seasons at Anfield, had earlier said: ‘My initial thoughts were actually I was mad but you cannot blame him.
‘[Klopp’s] a legend, I believe Liverpool will build a statue. Because of him, Liverpool have achieved everything they have in the last few years.
‘I think something happened. I have my own opinion about it. I think it has to do with the spending and the owners. I think he has got tired of it to keep fighting every single year to sign the players that he deserves in the team.’
Fenway Sports Group have come in for criticism from Liverpool fans during Klopp’s tenure amid the vast sums that have been spent by some of their Premier League rivals.
Animosity towards the owners arguably reached its height during the debacle that followed the unsuccessful formation of the European Super League in April 2021. It was revealed that FSG were not only a participant but a key player in the formation of the breakaway league.
Fenway Sports Group have owned the Premier League giants since 2010 – taking over from Tom Hicks and George Gillet
However, the Reds’ owners have nonetheless presided over the most successful period in a generation at the club and appointed Klopp back in 2015.
Former Liverpool man Xabi Alonso has quickly emerged as one of the front-runners to take over from Klopp – with the bookies’ making him the favourite.
The ex-midfielder is highly admired after his incredible work at Bayer Leverkusen that has seen him take the team to the top of the Bundesliga.
There has already been reports that there is a release clause in his Leverkusen contract that would allow him to join a big club if they came knocking.
But Klopp rebuffed any claims that he would be involved in the process of selecting the manager, who has the daunting task of following him in the Anfield hot seat.
Former Liverpool man Xabi Alonso has been installed as the favourite to replace Klopp
‘Why should I?’ He added. ‘In this world, you have a few faces who do an incredible you don’t see too often. It looks like I do all the work, I can’t.
‘What we have built is an incredibly strong structure behind the scenes. So many people work here with only one idea: to find the best thing for Liverpool.
‘The last thing they need is advice from the old man leaving.’
Earlier, Liverpool fans took to social media to show their sorrow after the huge news, as some declared it ‘the worst day of their lives’.
One wrote: ‘Ngl klopp leaving @LFC is probably the worst day of my life.’
Another said: ‘Just heard the worst news of the day that Jurgen Klopp is leaving the club at the end of the season.
‘A third post read: ‘Woke up in a different time zone, and the news of Klopp leaving hits like a hammer.
‘We know he would leave one day, but at worst, we hoped we had 2 more years. Devastating news, but I’m comforted by the new squad he has put together. Impossible act to follow, but we are Liverpool.’
Liverpool fans took to social media to declare it ‘the worst day of my life’ after the shock news
Others claimed they were ‘heartbroken’ and ‘devastated’ – while another said ‘best leave me alone today’.
Klopp’s assistants Pep Lijnders and Peter Krawietz will also leave in the summer – with the former looking to move into management.
In his earlier announcement, Klopp said he had informed the club of his decision to step down in November – and that he revealed it while discussing transfer targets for next summer.
Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers nine years ago and was tasked with overhauling a struggling side that had come close to winning trophies, but had often fallen short.
He had to be patient for his first piece of silverware – which came in 2019 as his side beat Tottenham in the Champions League final.
One year later, he led his team to their first Premier League title win in 30 years as they romped to victory with 99 points to see off their bitter rivals Man City.